* Prices may differ from that shown
Having flown from Gatwick a couple of times and tried various different ways of commuting to London, on a recent flight from Cork to Gatwick they were selling train tickets in Cork airport and I first heard of the Capital Connect service.
They were selling Gatwick Express return tickets to London Victoria for 44 euros, or the Capital Connect tickets from Gatwick to Kings Cross at less than half the price at 20 euros return. As we needed to go to Kings Cross anyway this was the perfect option for us.
First Capital Connect offer routes from the Gatwick Airport south terminal to five stations in London taking approximately 40 minutes and leaving every 15 minutes during the day and every hour at night. Anytime returns cost £18 from London St Pancras.
A family of 2 adults and 2 children using the Capital Connect can travel on an open ticket allowing you to jump on any train and not be restricted to a timetable is available for only £30 return.
From Luton Airport to London St Pancras takes around 40 minutes and costs around £25 for an anytime return.
Other routes include London to Brighton, Cambridge, Peterborough, Kings Lynn, Hertford North, Dunstable, Wimbledon, Sutton and Stevenage and more. For many of these destinations you can also add unlimited bus travel from your destination starting at £2 per day. You can add this on most tickets including singles.
From Gatwick airport the train leaves from the airport itself and from Luton airport they offer a shuttle bus service to the train station which takes around 7 or 8 minutes.
Our journey from Gatwick airport to London St Pancras went smoothly and quickly and I would always opt for this service over the Gatwick express in future.
There was no refreshment trolley on this service but for only 40 minutes we didn't want anything. This service is available on longer journeys. The only issue I did have was that the carriage we were in did not seem to have a great deal of room for luggage, there was room as it was not very busy but we had to move bags around to avoid blocking the doors and toilets, on the return journey the train was very busy and there wasn't much room at all so we ended up sitting on suitcases.
They offer group discounts in every station with 25% off groups travelling. They also offer off peak group savings where if you buy 2 off peak adult return tickets, one or two adults can travel for free.
It is also worth checking out the group discounts even for small groups. Unfortunately as we had already bought the tickets in Cork airport we couldn't make use of the group discounts (a shame as there were 10 of us and we would have made quite a saving).
If your train happens to be delayed by 30 minutes or more you are entitled to claim some of your fare back as long as you submit a claim before 28 days. This is actually available with most rail companies these days but is not well advertised, I met a man on an East Coast train who was disgusted that his train was only 20 minutes late as he would have got back half his fare if it had been delayed another 10 minutes. I shouldn't imagine this would happen often on the airport routes as it could lead to a multitude of problems with check ins and flights etc. but it s something to keep in mind for other routes.
Their website also advertises over 150 2 for 1 offers when you travel by train. This offers 2 for 1 entry to many of Londons attractions which can also be quite expensive , again we didn't know any of this until after we had travelled and I hadn't heard of the Capital Connect service and intended to use the Gatwick Express again.
I future I would definitely use this Capital Connect service and make sure I check their websites to make the most of these offers before travelling.
This service is good value and would definitely encourage people to use Gatwick airport more often.